Think Vaping is Safe? While the Liver is Spared, Your Lungs Are Running for Refuge
Vaping is the new word in the alcohol world. The coinage has been around for some years. Known as Hippie crack, there was a trend among British youth to use nitrous oxide for the funny kick.
Representative Image. (Reuters)
Have you ever come across such a warning note in your life? Not yet, maybe. But if the rage that is spreading over some parts of UK crosses waters, we too may have to check the inhalations we take innocently.
Vaping is the new word in the alcohol world. For those who are in the thick of things know that the coinage has been around for some years. Known as Hippie crack, there was a trend among British youth to use nitrous oxide for the funny kick. You empty a canister of the laughing gas down your lungs, you make a fun trip for a few hours.
A decade later, since that habit has worn off its sheen, we are now on the verge of its re-emergence. Only this time, there is no laughing gas.
In July at the Gallery Nightclub in Maidstone, Kent, American firm Vapshot introduced Vodka Mists shots before an enthusiastic crowd. Imagine, 1,300 shots of the new gas were consumed on the first day itself, for £5 a pop.
The mechanism of Vapshot is simple: Turn a drop of vodka into mist and fill it in a latex balloon which is then sold to the customer. He inhales it taking the vaporous vodka straight into his blood via lungs. Sorry liver, you already have taken enough, from now on you can rest, you don't figure in the drink business anymore.
Well, that is the greatest excuse for turning precious Vodka into mist. The liver is spared. Unlike the usual situation where our liver works overtime to process the alcohol you drink, taking enough bruises on the way, in vaping, the organ is bypassed. No liver abuse.
Instead, you breathe. Your brain gets hit instantly.
There are more perks. People know that alcohol carries calories. There is sugar in it. That spells danger. But if you vape, which means, inhale vapours of alcohol, you can continue taking your shots on an empty stomach. No double chin, no beer belly, no love handles. In short, no pricks of conscience the day after, while standing before the mirror. The logic is attractive.
But not attractive enough to rope in the health professional in the West. They suddenly are alarmed. Of course, the liver is spared in vaping, but what if the drink eats into lungs instead? When you drink alcohol, there are enough checking mechanisms down your alimentary canal. At one point, you retch, vomit, for your body knows how to cast out the excess. Your liver, seasoned in the field for thousands of years dealing with the stuff, knows when to send alarm signals to the brain to shut down a few valves. You scram to the washroom, vomit, and step on the brakes on the evenings drinking.
But poor lungs, they are sitting ducks, never a match for the wily drinks. They have absolutely no checking mechanisms. They don't know when and how to cry foul when things turn dirty. The result? You won't know how much is enough for a night. Invariably you take more. You become a drunkard even without your knowledge. Addicted and zonked out for life.
Can vaping replace the charm of holding a glass of beer or any other drink against the light, to watch its liquid legs drip down the walls, bringing it closer to your nose to tell apart its ingredients and age, and then taking that first sip? Slosh the liquid in your mouth. Listen to your taste buds pop crackle open to the liquid secrets.
It is a long game. Any attempts to make it faster will make your life helplessly shorter.
(Manu Remakant is a freelance writer who also runs a video blog - A Cup of Kavitha - introducing world poetry to Malayalees. Views expressed here are personal)
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